Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Abortion in Politics

Abortion is one of the most contentious issues in US politics today. I've made the decision to leave it off my list of issues that affect how I vote. Here's why.
Just to be perfectly clear up front, I believe abortion is morally wrong. If I was in a position where a woman asked me if she should have an abortion, I'd recommend against it. I believe life begins at conception. I don't believe this infringes on a woman's right to control her body - the control point was earlier, when choosing to have sex. (For the purposes of this discussion, I'm leaving aside situations where the woman was not in control, like rape and incest. Those are rare enough to be handled on a case-by-case basis.)

So if I believe all that, why isn't abortion an issue in my political views? My logic is that abortion doesn't outweigh any other issue that might affect my vote. My reasoning is as follows:
  • From the perspective of compassion, it's difficult to ignore abortion. Regardless of where you put the beginning of "personhood," a potential life is ending. I certainly don't condone this, but I do think that there are other ways to show just as much compassion while being more effective (and efficient). Provide birth control and sex education, particularly to poor communities. Improve education and quality of life for the least fortunate, particularly children and young parents. Expand the services available to orphans. Consider all the good that can be done if the resources spent protesting and fighting over abortion was used to actually improve the lives of those already out of the womb. (It's also worth noting that the politicians most strident in support of abortion tend to want to shrink or completely eliminate funding for programs similar to the ones I've mentioned above, which I find highly hypocritical.)
  • From a spiritual perspective, I believe that God will accept the innocent who had no opportunity to make their own decisions. One can argue over exactly where the line is drawn to say that a child is capable of making a decision to accept Jesus Christ, but I don't think anyone believes that an unborn child could have done so.
  • From a purely logical perspective, the world does not need the additional people that would be born if there was no abortion. There are over 7 billion people in the world, and that number will pass 11 billion by the year 2100. Over 130 million more are born each year. Another 40-50 million pregnancies are aborted. There is no lack of people in the world, and the growth rate is significant. Eliminating or slowing abortion rates exacerbates overpopulation problems.
  • I've heard the argument that every abortion robs the world of the opportunity to benefit from whatever that child might have done. While that may be true, I think it's just as true that the world also avoids any problems that child may have caused. From an opportunity cost perspective, I think the good and bad are pretty much in balance.
  • From a political viewpoint, fighting over abortion is a losing battle, at least in the US. Viewpoints are so ingrained on both sides that making any change is nigh impossible. It leads only to gridlock.
In a perfect world, there would be no abortions. But in the real world, I believe that the good that could be done by focusing on other issues far outweighs the harm done. Focusing on abortion as a political issue - even taking it into account at all - does no good and prevents that focus from being spent on issues that could actually improve people's lives. That's why I don't let the issue affect my vote.

No comments:

Post a Comment